Free Essays on The Crucible: John Proctor's Adultery and its Consequences

Free Essays on The Crucible: John Proctor's Adultery and its Consequences

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The Crucible - John Proctor's Adultery and its Consequences


A topic of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is how John Proctor's adultery eventually makes him a better husband. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.


First, John Proctor willingly commits adultery with Abigail and Elizabeth is aware of this as well. Proctor sees Abigail as a child and Proctor says: "Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby" (Miller, 1999, p. 1099). John says, "We never touched, Abby," this means that he does not acknowledge the adultery. "I will cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again." which expresses that he will literally cut his hand off to keep his marriage with Elizabeth alive. He won't betray Elizabeth again by committing adultery with anyone. John is a very strong character who won't let the one wrong he has done go on to hurt him. He has put it behind him and John and Elizabeth are on better ground than they were before.. Therefore, John and Elizabeth try to forget this incident but that won't be able to happen.  


Next, in Act II Elizabeth asks John if says that he saw Abigail at Salem. Elizabeth catches John in a lie about seeing Abigail in a crowd, he saw her alone; John Proctor says: "No more! I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you're not, you're not, and let you remember it! Let you look sometime for the goodness in me, and judge me not" (Miller, 1999, p. 1117). John says, "Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you're not, you're not, and let you remember it!" this is saying that Elizabeth is not God. She should not be judging John for his only mistake that he did. He did confess his adultery to Elizabeth and that's the first step to being a better husband and trying to put this incident behind them.

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In Act IV, John asks for Elizabeth's advice on what to do and she does not judge him. Now, she realizes that she is not the one to judge others and she is not God. As a result, John is caught in a lie and Elizabeth is put in her place.


Finally, in Act III John sees Abigail committing perjury against Elizabeth. John sees this and calls her a whore and needs to back up his attacks with something: "Trembling, his life collapsing about him: I have known her, sir. I have known her" (Miller, 1999, p. 1145). When John says, "I have known her, sir. I have known her" John is saying that he has had sexual relations with her. Also, this is John's last chance to save Elizabeth and does so by risking himself. In Act I John sees Abigail as a child but later in Act III he does not see her as a child because he wants her persecuted. The reason why John sees her as a child at one point and a woman at another point is he doesn't want to remember that he committed adultery. When he sees her as a woman he wants to acknowledge it to hurt Abigail to protect his wife even if it involves taking himself down with her. Therefore, John saves his wife for his own sin but still pays the consequences for his sin.


In conclusion, John Proctor tries to see the good in adultery to try strengthen his marriage. Also, he takes full responsibility of his sins and does not choose to burden his sin on his wife and his unborn child. John is an example of how one can see the good in things and try to make it better.
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